A question of cultures....

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A question of cultures....

Postby jonrpatrick » Mon Jun 29, 2020 5:48 pm

I'm not sure how to word this exactly, so let me just dive in.
As I've read the series, and certainly as I've been reading and re-reading some books, I've found myself wondering about the cultures of the world of Recluce. Specifically, is Mr. Modesitt drawing from current cultures as a hint to where societies in his world develop?
Specifically, isn't the Rats 'other universe' referred to as the Angloran Union or something? It strikes me as similar to Anglican... Western Europe or the USA? Male dominated, militaristic, with a propensity for traders to become too powerful and undermine the nation?
But then, during my reading about Cyador and Cigoerne, there's speak of head-scarves, which carries a more Middle-Eastern connotation.
The Angels, specifically the Sybrans live in cold environments and are expert horse riders.... this screams Mongolia or Chinese. I also feel their philosophies have shades of confucianism in it as well.
Certainly we know individuals from our universe and our time can appear in the Recluce universe, but I find myself tossing in my brain the question:
Are the Demons and Angels from OUR universe, but in the space-faring future, and if so what cultures of today are being represented?
Thoughts?
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Re: A question of cultures....

Postby lmodesitt » Mon Jun 29, 2020 8:36 pm

Cultural traits tend to arise out of the interplay of economics, power, and belief. Generally speaking, in our world, empires that have lasted developed trade and/or agricultural surpluses. While many "traits" or patterns in Recluce have parallels or roots in the history of our world, those traits developed, as I saw it, out of the culture and weren't "transplants." For example, what really fuels the development of Recluce and earlier, that of Fairhaven and Cyador, is the development and control of trade. Recluce tends to be more egalitarian because, from the beginning, women had power, and that's reinforced by the mindset of balance and equality. Cyador never had that "belief" as an anchor, with women of power usually relegated to the supportive role of healers, and as time passed, with respites as in the time of Lorn, the culture suppressed them more and more. What fuels the early growth of Cigoerne is the use of order to improve agriculture combined with a hardened and efficient combination of magery and arms, plus political skills passed on from Cyador.

Yes, I did postulate the Sybrans and the Rationalists as one of the possible future cultures arising from Earth, but I didn't link them to any specific present society and culture, except in a very general sense.

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Re: A question of cultures....

Postby jonrpatrick » Tue Jun 30, 2020 7:44 am

Thank you for indulging my curiosity!
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Re: A question of cultures....

Postby E Pericoloso Sporgersi » Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:51 am

jonrpatrick wrote:...
there's speak of head-scarves, which carries a more Middle-Eastern connotation.
...

Be careful with generalisations.

Not so very long ago, women in western Europe used to wear head-scarves when in church. The more south towards the Mediterranean you went, the more pronounced the custom.

When I was 11 (now 65 years ago), my parents, with me along, travelled to Spain and went sightseeing to El Escorial, Montserrat, some churches and musea. I distinctly remember that my mother was denied entry unless she wore a head-scarf.

If you watch the Italian movies about Don Camillo, you'll notice many women wearing head-scarves, especially in church. Also the French women in a funeral procession (almost ubiquitous in older French movies). Spanish women used to also wear lace head-scarves when attending the Corrida ( Jackie Kennedy in Sevilla ).

I have no idea (never going to church since my youth) if a head-scarf is still "de rigueur" in Mediterranean and Latin countries, but I wouldn't at all be surprised if some Central and South American women still wore a head-scarf to Mass.
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Re: A question of cultures....

Postby jonrpatrick » Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:37 am

Thanks for the reply, and pointing out my generalization. First and foremost, I didn't mean anything derogatory by it!
To expand, and in reference specifically in Hamor, there are multiple references to the culture that I've always thought pointed to more 'middle eastern'. However, you'll also note my post questioned whether the original Rationalists were intended to be of "American" or Western European decent.
I'm re-reading Natural Ordermage right now which gives some detail into Swartheld. Women wear headscarves, must fully cover their bodies, the food is exceptionally hot, and cultural descriptions such as men and women can eat out together in the same room, but separate.
There's more but it paints a picture in my mind that draws heavily on some of the Middle Eastern nations. I acknowledge other cultures (Indian) or western European can have had similar cultural standards.
To restate my original post, when I read the books, be it about Recluce or Cyador or Hamor, I find myself envisioning the society and trying to find parallels in our modern world and cultures.
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